HWT Autumn Lecture – The Return of the Pine Marten

Mammal expert and author Johnny Birks delivers Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Autumn Lecture at 7pm on Tuesday 16th November at the Conquest Theatre in Bromyard.

The pine marten is one of our most charming and enigmatic mammals. Members of the mustelid family, along with stoats, polecats and otters, they were once found across the UK. However, in the late 19th and early 20th century their numbers declined, and the species became confined to the north of Scotland. Now protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act, pine martens are recovering in Scotland, but to return to England and Wales in sustainable numbers they need a helping hand.

This year, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust have invited Johnny Birks to give their autumn lecture and tell us more about this charismatic creature. The talk will describe the UK’s historical and current pine marten situation and recent research findings, including natural recovery in Scotland and efforts to restore the species to England and Wales. Johnny will explore some of the challenges for we humans as we learn to live once again with a predator that our ancestors so nearly drove to extinction a hundred years ago. There is good news about the pine marten’s impact upon grey squirrels, and less good news in the form of proposals to remove or cull pine martens on Speyside to ’save the capercaillie’.  Of special interest to naturalists in Herefordshire are reintroductions to mid-Wales and – currently – the Forest of Dean, with the possibility that pine martens may re-establish a population in our county in the near future.

Johnny Birks is a mammalogist who has studied and promoted the conservation of pine martens for nearly 30 years, initially with the Vincent Wildlife Trust. His talk will be informative, entertaining and enlivened by mucky tales of scat surveys and checking den boxes in midge-infested Scottish forests!

Tickets are £12 available from the theatre box office: Click here to book